Last year, I tried to break up the content marketing “boys club” by writing a post that highlighted women who “rock” content marketing. Twitter lit up — frenzied comments applauded those listed and decried those absent. In other words, the post struck a nerve.
To account for the absences, some glaring, I created a “Top Women in Content” Twitter list. But that was an ersatz solution. We needed the real thing, another batch of must-follow women in content marketing.
Looking back at last year’s post, I realize that I traded one “club” for another. The overwhelming majority of the women listed were business-to-business content marketers. They created content to attract new leads, and convert them into customers. ”Demand generation,” despite its obvious importance to any company, is just one function of content marketing. Others include user experience, public relations, and branding.
To that end, this year’s list includes professionals who might not fit the “classic” funnel-driven definition of content marketing. Instead, it’s comprised of women for whom content is an inseparable component of their professional, and often personal, lives. It’s a list of women who not only produce epic content, but also live it.
Some of the names will be familiar to nearly everyone in marketing circles — stars like Mary Meeker, Nilofer Merchant, and Brandee Barker — while others fly well below the radar. For example, when Jenny Karn ran client services at JESS3, her clients (myself included) earned notoriety, yet she remained in the shadows. I hope this list shines a light on behind-the-curtain difference-makers like Jenny, while simultaneously highlighting the content chops of the Mary Meekers of the world.
Click around in the LookBook above to see all 20.
Lastly, this is by no means a definitive list. It’s a collection of women who inspire me. Women who, when they present at a conference, cause me to clear my calendar for that hour. Although many wouldn’t even consider themselves content marketers, they remain professionals whom I wish I were a little more like. And here they are:
- Sonia Simone: An embarrassing oversight in last year’s list, Sonia cofounded and runs Copyblogger — arguably one of the most influential content marketing blogs in the industry.
- Sarah Hofstetter: Remember Oreo’s famous real-time “You can still dunk in the dark” tweet? That was Sarah’s firm, 360i, where she’s also the Executive Sponsor of the Oreo account.
- Jennifer Burnham: Few get the concept of “helpful” content more than Salesforce.com’s Jennifer Burnham. Her “Blueprint of the Perfect Post” series is the very definition of content as a service.
- Brandee Barker: Facebook’s original PR leader, Brandee serves on the board of Somaly Mam Foundation, a role that overlaps with major film and print content. She’s also an early contributor to Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In movement.
- Carmen Hill: Carmen’s exceptional content strategy work earned her employer, Babcock & Jenkins, an Orange Award at last year’s Content Marketing World.
- Jiashan Wu: Visual content wins, and as designer and strategist for creative firm XOlator, Jiashan delivers can’t-be-ignored creative. She’s also won a Clio award.
- Nicole D’Alonzo: When not running social media at a major beauty brand, Nicole is publishing a “ridiculously awesome” daily email for bold women.
- Nisha Chittal: Nisha leads social strategy for Travel Channel, and doubles as a prolific contributor to Huffington Post, Ms. Magazine, and Jezebel.
- Pamela Vaughan: Pamela runs the HubSpot blog, which boasts 1 million monthly uniques and 150,000 subscribers, and it generates about 10,000 new leads a month.
- Kristina Halvorson: Author, blogger, strategist, speaker, entrepreneur. She’s one of the most consistently reliable voices on the topic of content marketing.
- Jenny Karn: You might not have heard of Jenny, but you have heard of her previous JESS3 clients: Google Politics, Eloqua, MindJet. All are widely applauded for their content marketing programs.
- Lindsay Bell: Lindsay is a former television producer, top blogger, and content strategist. A content marketing “triple threat.”
- Kate Lee: As Medium‘s Director of content, Kate (a former literary agent) is responsible for helping Evan Williams’ new blogging platform finally democratize content discovery.
- Royce Abrams: Warby Parker‘s Marketing Supervisor has created passionate fans not only by offering a disruptive product and service, but also by creating content-driven experiences for their audience.
- Mary Meeker: Every year, Mary publishes a massive, 100+ slide deck on digital trends, and every year more and more people anxiously await the arrival of her data leviathan.
- Nilofer Merchant: A multi-channel content star (TED2013 speaker, Harvard Business Review writer, #SocialEra author, and more), Nilofer also created a $200 million go-to-market strategy for VMWare.
- Samantha Starmer: It’s easy to forget the value of UX in content. But user experience rock star Samantha Tarmer never has.
- Margot Bloomstein: According to influencer search engine LittleBird, Margot is one of the three most influential women on the topic of content marketing. Her work at Appropriate speaks for itself.
- Clare McDermott: A marketer-turned-accountant-turned-content-marketer, Clare McDermott also edits Chief Content Officer Magazine.
- Julia Hutchison: Dubbed “Europe’s queen of content,” Julia is the head of content marketing for Group FMG.
Now let’s hear from you. Were there any surprises on this year’s list? Any glaring absences? Add your suggestions and I’ll update the Twitter list.
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